Chicago White Sox 2022 Season Previewby Alex Kielar April 7, 2022 0 comments
The Chicago White Sox were the winners of the American League Central at 93-69 last season. They lost to the Houston Astros in four games in the ALDS, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be back. The White Sox are the class of the AL Central and they made moves this offseason to improve. While the division is likely to be a little tougher than last year, the South Siders are the most complete team of the bunch. The entire coaching staff, led by Tony LaRussa will be back for the White Sox this season.
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The White Sox were one of the more active teams in the offseason pre and post-lockout. They made a number of signings and trades to help the team. There was no real “splash” move but this is a team that doesn’t really need a big splash to go deeper into the postseason.
Joe Kelly, RHP, Two Years/$17 Million
After the last three years with the Dodgers, Kelly entered free agency. The White Sox jumped on it after the lockout, signing him for two years. He was a key part of the Dodgers bullpen the last two seasons and he had a sub-1.00 WHIP in 2021. The California native helps to beef up the White Sox bullpen and gives them a solid late-inning guy. The right-hander won’t be ready for Opening Day, however, after suffering strained biceps in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
Kendall Graveman, RHP, Three Years/$24 Million
Another big addition to the bullpen, Graveman had his best season to date last year between the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. In a surprising move, the contending Mariners traded him to the Astros at the deadline despite him posting a 0.82 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 0.697 WHIP, and 10 saves in 30 games. Graveman has a good shot to be the eighth-inning guy in front of closer Liam Hendriks.
AJ Pollock, LF, Traded from Los Angeles Dodgers
Adding a guy like Pollock who has a championship pedigree is a great move for the White Sox. It was not only about adding depth, but also getting someone who can fill in at any outfield spot. Pollock looks to fill the right field need and give Chicago another big bat in an already scary lineup. He hit a career-high 21 homers last season and has hit right-handers and left-handers in his career.
Adam Haseley, LF, Traded from Philadelphia Phillies
The White Sox traded right-handed pitching prospect, McKinley Moore, to the Phillies for Haseley. They could always use extra outfield depth. While Haseley was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following the acquisition of Pollock, he will be ready to come up at any time if needed. The White Sox hope he can return to 2019 form, in which he was a solid contributor for the Phillies.
Josh Harrison, 2B, One Year/$5.5 Million
The White Sox traded away Nick Madrigal in the trade that got them Craig Kimbrel last season. That being said, they needed to add depth. They also re-signed Leury Garcia to a three-year contract, and he slates to start the year at second base. Both he and Harrison can move around the diamond, so they should each get equal playing time. Harrison is an 11-year MLB veteran and has been a productive player into his mid-30s. He’s never been elite at the plate, but he’s put up solid numbers and puts the bat to the ball. The former Pirate slashed .279/.343/.402 line across 649 plate appearances over the last two seasons, while striking out at just a 13.4 percent clip.
Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
This trade had the worst timing to it. Not too long after the trade was announced, flamethrowing young southpaw Garrett Crochet went down for the season as he requires Tommy John surgery. Crochet was going to be a huge piece to the Sox bullpen and now they lost two big arms in one fell swoop. While Kimbrel had a rough time of it after joining the White Sox at the trade deadline, you can really blame it on the fact they were using him in the wrong inning. Trading for another reliever or two is something on the horizon for Chicago. Even with Kelly and Graveman, they need more.
Carlos Rodon, LHP, San Francisco Giants
The ace of the White Sox last season, Rodon is a big loss. The southpaw broke out for a 13-5 record, 2.37 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, and 185 strikeouts in 132 2/3 innings. Chicago will be without some pitching to start the season, as Lance Lynn underwent knee surgery for a torn tendon and is shut down for a month. Jonathan Stiever is also recovering from a lat injury he suffered last August and he is projected to return in June.
That really wipes out their depth for the first few months, but they still have a solid top four in Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Dallas Keuchel, and Michael Kopech. The South Siders also signed Vince Velasquez to a one-year deal, and he will likely be the fifth starter to begin the season before transitioning to the bullpen. Johnny Cueto was also signed to a minor league deal, so he will likely see some starts in the big leagues.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Washington Nationals
The loss of Hernandez made way for the addition of Harrison, which is an upgrade. The second baseman played just 53 games with the White Sox after they traded for him at the trade deadline. He only hit .232 with a 69 OPS+.
The White Sox might get off to a slow start with the injuries in their rotation, but they won’t take long to get rolling. Their lineup is uber-dangerous and they still have very strong healthy arms in the rotation and bullpen. Losing Rodon is a big hit, but the moves they made in the offseason give them depth and filled needs. They have a team to make a big run in the postseason. As they get healthy could run away with the AL Central.
Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez were both limited to less than 70 games last season, and the White Sox still won 93 games. When healthy, they are two of the scariest sluggers in the league. Robert really showed he was the team’s MVP when he returned from a torn hip flexor in August. In 43 games post-injury, he hit .350/.389/.622 with a 1.011 OPS, 173 wRC+, and .424 wOBA. A full season will be scary for opposing teams and he should be in the running for AL MVP.
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